The workers compensation attorneys at Metro Law concentrate primarily on representing injured employees who have suffered because of a work-related injury or disease. These workplace injury accidents include traumatic accidents, repetitive motion injuries, occupational diseases, and injuries that involve exposure to toxic substances or chemicals.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer In Newark, New Jersey
In almost every state, the vast majority of employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance provides certain benefits in the event that an on-the-job accident does occur. The workers’ compensation lawyers at Metro Law can help guide you through the complex and complicated process of applying for benefits or filing an appeal for a denied claim. We can also investigate if you have already been approved for workers’ compensation benefits but believe that you did not get the benefits that you deserve and are entitled to. Our team of employment lawyers can also assist you if you have been accused of filing a fraudulent workers’ comp claim. Call Metro Law today to see how we can help you.
What Is Workers’ Compensation In New Jersey
Worker’s compensation is a form of insurance for employees who are injured in a work-related accident. It is a “no-fault” insurance program that provides additional benefits to injured employees, including death benefits. Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, an employee that has been injured in a workplace accident is eligible for all the benefits under worker’s compensation law.
Why the NJ Workers’ Compensation Program was Established
New Jersey, as a pioneer in the field, established their original workers’ compensation laws in 1911. In the years preceding the laws, the only recourse an employee had if they were injured on the job, was to sue their employer for negligence. Suing their employer put a great financial burden on the injured worker as it would have taken many years to complete. During that time the employee would be left without income or medical benefits. The laws were biased on the side of the employer, leaving most claims unsuccessful as there were plentiful defenses available to an employer.
In 1979, the laws were reformed, following research by labor, government, and industry. The reform allows additional benefits to those who are permanently disabled, and make it more difficult for employees with minor injuries to obtain permanent disability benefits. Cost-of-living increases were also adopted in the reform for dependents of deceased employees and for individuals with permanent and total disabilities. Reforming the workers’ compensation laws when they did, New Jersey avoided many issues faced by other states–inefficient organization and cost increases due to unlimited benefits to those with minor injuries.
The Function of New Jersey’s Division of Workers Compensation
In order to protect the rights of both the employees and employers of New Jersey, a partnership was established between government, industry, and labor. Under the laws governing worker’s compensation, employees are guaranteed reasonable medical care, temporary disability benefits, and when appropriate, permanent disability benefits. Employers pay for workers’ compensation insurance, protecting them from endless civil awards for non-economic losses and more expensive tort lawsuits.
The disposition of disputes raised under the NJ Workers’ Compensation Law, NJSA 34:15-1, et seq., is administered by the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). They govern disputes by:
- Ensuring the insurance companies and employers provide fair and reasonable workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers.
- Requiring and enforcing employers to carry the proper workers’ compensation coverage from a large insurance company or through self-insurance programs.
- Assisting injured workers with medical bills and temporary disability benefits for injuries for which compensation may be due, while the employees are working for uninsured companies.
- When an employee who was partially disabled experiences a work-related injury rendering them permanently disabled, DWC provides them with benefit payments.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a workplace accident in Newark you may be eligible for workers’ compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact the workers’ comp attorneys at Metro Law to discuss the specifics of your workplace accident and find out if you have the right to pursue a workers’ comp claim.
Benefits Under Workers’ Compensation Laws
An employer is responsible for maintaining workers’ compensation insurance policy for all employees of the company. They must provide reasonable and necessary medical care, disability payments–permanent and temporary, lost wages, and rehabilitation, when necessary. If an injury is caused on the job, or if a worker loses their life, the employee or their dependents can receive benefits under the workers’ compensation insurance policy.
If a worker is injured at work and the employer does not have a workers’ compensation insurance policy, the injured employee can receive temporary medical care and benefits under the Division’s Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF).
The following benefits are provided under New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Laws:
- Medical Benefits: The employer’s insurance company or the company itself, if they do not have a workers’ compensation policy, are responsible for covering any hospital stays, prescriptions needed, and reasonable medical care. The employer has the right to request the injured employee to receive medical treatment from the medical professional of their choice. Only in emergency situations, or refusal from employer to treat, can an employee choose their physician.
- Total Disability Benefits – Temporary: Temporary disability benefits are available to injured employees if they are deemed disabled for a time period of more than seven days. They will be eligible to receive 70% of their average weekly wage temporarily, while considered disabled and actively receiving care from a medical professional. Their benefits can not be below the minimum rate of 20% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW), or above 75% of the SAWW. If an employee is released to return to work or they have reached the maximum medical improvement (MMI), they will no longer be eligible for benefits.
- Total Disability Benefits – Permanent: Permanent total disability benefits are provided when an injured employee is unable to return to work due to the injury or illness caused by a workplace injury. The payments are made on a weekly basis for an initial period of 450 weeks. After the initial 450 weeks, the injured individual may still be eligible for benefits if they can prove they are still unable to perform their work duties.
Total disability on a permanent basis can also be awarded if two or more body parts such as arms, hands, eyes, legs, and feet have been lost. A combination of any of the injuries or illnesses which render a person disabled can also qualify for permanent total disability.
- Partial Disability Benefits – Permanent: A partial disability caused by a work-related injury which is permanent may be eligible for benefits. Benefits are based on a percentage of loss divided into two categories, “scheduled” or “non-scheduled” losses. “Non-scheduled” losses refer to an area of the body such as the lungs, heart, and back. “Scheduled” losses refer to arms, from the fingers to the shoulder, legs from the thigh to the toes, ears, and teeth. These benefits begin after the date temporary disability ends and are paid on a weekly basis.
In an effort to encourage employers to hire workers with disabilities, the Division of Workers’ Compensation created the Second Injury Fund (SIF). The SIF establishes a system to pay benefits to permanent and totally disabled individuals, who were injured in a work-related accident and had pre-existing disabilities. The employer is only responsible for paying benefits for injuries related to the work-related injury.
Contact Metro Law if you were injured in a workplace accident and need assistance with filing for your workers’ compensation benefits in Newark. We have been successfully representing New Jersey workers who have suffered a workplace injury or occupational disease for thirty years. Let us help you get the compensation that you are entitled to for your workplace injury and losses.
Death benefits are paid to dependents of a worker whose death was caused by a work-related illness or injury which led to their death. Benefits are calculated according to the weekly wage of the deceased individual. Payments are 70% of the weekly wage, not to exceed the Commissioner of Labor’s established annual benefit amount. Once the benefit amount has been determined, the judge then splits up the benefits between the surviving dependents, based on their extent of dependency. Dependents are defined as the following:
- The deceased individual’s household members, including natural children and a surviving spouse.
- The spouse, children, or other dependents (parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.) who were not part of the decedent’s household at the time of death must prove they are dependents.
- Until the age of 18 or a full-time student until the age of 23, a child is considered a dependent.
- A mentally or physically disabled child may be able to receive further benefits.
Funeral expenses up to the amount of $3,500 are the responsibility of the insurance company or the employer directly. The benefit is paid to the individual or estate liable for the funeral expenses.
If you have lost a loved one in a work-related injury accident or from a work-related illness or disease, you need to speak with a knowledgeable New Jersey workers’ comp or wrongful death lawyer. Contact Metro Law today to see if you have the right to file a claim against an employer.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
The Division of Workers’ Compensation created a system where an injured employee who is suffering due to a dispute with an insurance company or employer regarding eligibility may file an Application for an Informal Hearing, or file a formal Claim Petition. Depending on the county where the injured party lives, or where the employer is located, the case will be assigned a district office as well as a judge.
Some of the issues which would cause a dispute, and ultimately a claim to be filed include, but are not limited to:
- Whether the injury or illness claimed is work-related
- Injuries or illness sustained and medical treatment necessary
- Payment of temporary disability benefits
- Payment of permanent disability benefits
- Dependent benefits for job-related deaths
An injured worker has the choice to either represent themselves throughout the claim or have the representation of an attorney. The representation of an attorney can be extremely beneficial in obtaining the compensation you deserve for damages and injuries sustained in an on the job injury. An insurance company normally provides legal representation for the employer.
Call Metro Law with any questions you may have about your workplace injury. We are always standing by, waiting to take your call. We can help you file your workers’ compensation benefits claim to ensure that you get the maximum benefits allowed in Newark, New Jersey.
Application for an Informal Hearing
An Application for an Informal Hearing can be filed by the insurance carrier, the employee, or the employer if a dispute arises. Informal hearings allow issues to be resolved without a lengthy and complex formal litigation. These hearings can resolve issues such as medical benefits required, temporary disability compensation, and the status of time of benefits – temporary or permanent.
During an informal hearing, the judge will evaluate the evidence presented and make suggestions to resolve the claim. The suggestions made by the judge are not binding and any of the involved parties have the opportunity to file a formal claim after the informal hearing. The formal claim must be filed within the two-year statute of limitations. The statute of limitations does not stop upon the filing of an application for an informal hearing. Informal claims are normally resolved within the first or second hearing, whereas a formal claim can take months to resolve.
At any point, before the two-year statute of limitations expires, the employer, employee, or insurance company for the employer may file a formal claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. The judge of compensation normally schedules the first hearing within six months of the filing of a formal claim.
Most formal claims, or any claims at all, do not progress to the litigation stage. They are normally resolved by a settlement agreement which can address issues of compensation due and the type and extent of disability. A trial will only proceed if issues can not be resolved or a settlement reached during the pretrial stage. Once it is determined that trial will commence, testimony from the injured employee, medical personnel involved in the case, and any other witnesses will be taken. At the end of the trial, the judge will evaluate all of the relevant evidence presented and render a decision regarding the claim. The ruling made in a formal claim is a legal and binding ruling. The decision can be appealed only through the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.
Why Choose Metro Law To Assist With Your Workers’ Comp Claim?
Representation by an attorney is always recommended but is not required. A fee in advance for legal services, commonly called a retainer, is prohibited by law in workers’ compensation laws. Attorneys are only paid if a judge of compensation awards monetary benefits to the injured employee or surviving family member. Judgments for attorney fees are limited to 20% of the total award for compensation made by the judge of compensation to the injured employee.
The legal team of personal injury lawyers at Metro Law will fight to ensure that recover all of the benefits that you deserve and are entitled to by law. As a result of our decades of personal injury law experience in successfully representing New Jersey residents in workers’ compensation matters, we have helped victims and their families receive cash settlements for their workplace injury or illness, as well as costs for medical expenses. We do this through careful preparation and assessment of the entire situation. If we are unable to reach a full and fair settlement, we will take the case to trial. Sometimes that is the only way that a positive outcome can be achieved.
Contact the personal injury lawyers at Metro Law today to schedule your free consultation with a knowledgeable and skilled workers’ comp attorney in Newark. We have helped countless injured victims throughout New Jersey and we can help you too. Call us today at (800) 469-6476.